A Swansea entrepreneur overcomes the disappointments of lockdown to start his own caravan-cleaning business.
Sparkle Pro Caravan Cleaning Ltd launched in 2020 in Swansea. Owner Ian Thomas approached the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service to enquire about available start-up support to get his idea off the ground. Having engaged with a start-up adviser, Ian was able to:
- successfully start in August 2020
- secure £3,000 through Purple Shoots
- create 1 job
Introduction to business
Started by Ian Thomas in August 2020, Sparkle Pro Caravan Cleaning offers professional cleaning services for static holiday homes and touring caravans.
Why did you decide to set up your own business?
I started the business as I saw a gap in the market for professional hand-washing caravan services and wanted to make a difference in Wales. I had previously worked for others in the Sales and Leisure industries for 20 years and always knew that if I just took the right steps, I can do it myself.
What challenges did you face?
The biggest challenge by far was lockdown, but I was determined to make a difference to my life and give it my best to grow the brand and business. Things got even worse as I was unfortunately laid off during lockdown – I lost my previous job with no furlough. I used the time we all had at home to come up with ideas and ways to get my business started.
Business Wales support
Ian worked with Business Wales’ start-up adviser Hywel Bassett to find the best avenues to starting his own business, following a redundancy during lockdown. Hywel helped with putting together a business plan and financial forecasts. He then assisted with Ian’s funding application, resulting in securing a £3,000 loan from Purple Shoots towards the purchase of a van and equipment. Ian was able to launch the business in the summer and has since attracted a loyal customer base, including some high-profile Welsh rugby celebrities.
- successfully started in August 2020
- secured £3,000 through Purple Shoots
- 1 job created
I was put in touch with Hywel at the start of my venture. He talked me through all the options and potential contacts I could get in touch with to try to get my business up and running. I wasn’t eligible for a Government loan, so it was a challenge to find help. Hywel introduced me to the Purple Shoots loans as a finance option. I managed to get a £3,000 loan, which, although not a lot, helped me invest in a new branded van, as I wanted my business to be seen and recognised as a professional firm with the best customer service and help for customers.
The business has blown my mind: in such a short time, I’ve had over 19 five-star reviews which is humbling and shows I am on the right path to succeed. I have lots to learn, but I am determined to work hard and make my business a household name.
Future plans and ambitions
The future for Sparkle Pro Caravan Cleaning Ltd is to be a household brand everybody in Wales knows. I would like to secure contracts with major holiday parks, not just in Wales but further afield, too. I want to provide the best customer service and give my customers my time and knowledge within the industry to help them as much as I can.
I work hard and hopefully, it will end up as a great success story not just for me but also for others who were left with nothing – I want to show people that they can achieve much more and shouldn’t get disheartened in these hard times.
If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.